LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - March Madness will come to a close Monday.
While there were no teams from WAVE Country vying for the national title, for some in Louisville, the tournament remained important.
A group of downtown business owners hoped it would help bring people back to Main Street.
“I think March Madness was a kickoff to the first Saturday in May,” Robbie Valentine, who works at the KFC Yum Center, said. “I think people are feeling really safe.”
Valentine, along with other downtown business owners, came together last month to create “Main Street Basketball Madness.”
It was a series of promotions at restaurants, bars and hotels with the aim of drawing visitors downtown to watch basketball.
The event comes after a tough year for businesses facing COVID restrictions and protest curfews.
“We need to be enthusiastic,” Valentine said. “People in Louisville, we need to come downtown, have lunches and dinners, and get people back down here.”
Valentine adds as the tournament played out, he noticed that starting to happen more and more.
“They came down, they enjoyed their games, they drank their drink, they laid their heads on pillows,” he said.
Valentine said there’s still work to be done, but that he can feel the momentum downtown businesses were hoping the event would create.
He believes vaccines, the weather and the loosening of COVID restrictions will all continue to help the economy recover.
“I think the thing we need to look at in the future is getting people back downtown to work,” he said. “Once you get that, then you’re going to get a different crowd Monday through Sunday rather than Thursday through Sunday.”
The Yum Center employee said restaurants and hotels downtown are hiring, trying to meet demand.